Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Why I love to teach fifth grade...
Something I really appreciate about teaching fifth graders is all of the love they have to give. That sounds really corny, but I always have kids making me cards saying "I love you, Mrs. Adina" or bringing me flowers or making me origami dinosaurs, giving me hugs, telling me jokes or something equally endearing. For me, it is the perfect age.
-The kids are old enough to do some pretty serious, intense conversations and writing about important things in life, even if they are still portraying their parent's opinions for the most part.
-They are old enough to be responsible for themselves, with the obligatory exception or two.
-Their creative side is developing and expressed in many different ways.
-Linguistically they are getting a handle on two languages and are starting to master them both.
-And, usually, fifth grade is one of the first where changing classes occurs and teachers teach one or two, instead of all, subjects. I love having to focus on just language! It is a lot easier to get creative and in-depth with something when your attention is not divided.
On the other side of this equation, teaching in Elementary school has a completely different realm of social norms than middle school or especially high school. The teachers are more involved with each other. You are a lot more likely to get a birthday part, baby shower or marriage gift. In the morning people are more likely to greet you and, overall, interaction is much more a part of work. This has its drawbacks sometimes, but for me, it is mostly a positive thing. I have to constantly force myself to be a part of society for my own good, and I enjoy it when I do, but I need an environment that pushes me that extra bit to interact with people.
In Guatemala, I have noticed all of these things in a more positive way for the most part. Some things are a little different, every school has it's up and down sides, but overall it is a good thing. This is something I have prayed a lot about, since new things are terrifying anyhow and going back to work was hard enough without it being in a new country! :) I think it is interesting the amount of American/Canadian teachers I work with who do not speak Spanish. I am glad that I do because it allows me to interact better with both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking teachers and to more fully appreciate my environment.
If you've ever considered international teaching, I would definitely recommend it.
p.s. Sometimes you also get to participate in the art session and sculpt your own triceratops!